The CPCU Society Annual Meeting is the insurance event of the year, and this year’s event in Hawaii and is expected to be the insurance event of the decade! Whether you’re one of the 5,000+ new designees or you’re a returning CPCU your friends here at InsNerds.com want to make sure you have all the tools you need to make the most of the conference. Tony and Carly have a combined 8 years of experience attending every Annual Meeting and hosting the New Designee Open house and here is everything we’ve learned:
If it’s your first year wear the NEW DESIGNEE ribbon:
Some people make the mistake of not wearing the New Designee ribbon to avoid looking like the new guy, but believe us, wearing it will cause lots and lots of people to congratulate you and come introduce themselves. It’s without question the best way to get people to come to you, so you don’t even have to make a lot of effort to meet a lot of new people. You only get this ribbon your first year, so take advantage of it!
Get ready to meet A LOT of fellow insurance nerds:
As an extreme extrovert, this is Tony’s favorite part of the Annual Meeting (and the part that gives Carly anxiety). For many of you who are also extroverts, you’ll get to connect with people from all over the country and learn about their stories. Some interactions will be short and sweet, others will be longer and more in-depth, both can be great ways to grow your network. However, for Carly and her fellow introverts, this can be the most challenging part of the Annual Meeting (Carly has doubled up on her Yoga and spends weeks preparing for this much concentrated social interaction). If you are also an introvert, you’ll want to be certain to plan some quiet time. As Susan Cain suggested in Quiet, Carly makes certain to take short 5 or 10 minute breaks between sessions to recharge. Two other strategies she uses are to show up early and to volunteer to help out, so she’ll feel more in control of the situation. Whichever personality type you are, you’re sure to make some new connections at this meeting and learning from these connections is something that both Tony & Carly love! One thing is for sure, you’ll never have a better opportunity to meet thousands of fellow insurance professionals at the same time as you have at the Annual Meeting, especially the one in Hawaii which only happens about once every nine years and attracts the biggest crowds by far.
Download the conference app:
The Institutes and the Society have been working hard in making the conference app better and better each year. Download it from the email you received in mid August. Make sure to check in as an attendee (and add your picture), use the scheduling portion of the app! This year it’s also crucial because of the sheer number of people at the conference and the multiple hotels people are staying at you’ll need to carefully plan to meet any specific people you want to meet. As of August 22nd there are already 6,630 people checked into the app. Jump into the attendee list and browse to it to see if there’s anyone you REALLY want to meet at the conference, if there is you might want to reach out ahead of time since the chances of randomly running into that specific person will be tough in this huge conference.
Read the descriptions of the educational sessions. A good idea is to pick a mix of sessions that directly relate to your current day to day job and sessions that expand your perspective or apply to the next role you want. This year the sessions end early so you have most of the afternoon off to go soak in the sun.
Dress sharp, but pack for casual events, too!:
Remember that you’ll be in professional session all day long, and it pays to dress professionally, after all you don’t know if you’ll sit next to your future boss, but this is Hawaii so resort wear is probably fine. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes or you will destroy your feet since you’re bound to be walking a lot.
Don’t miss the General Sessions or the Receptions:
Missing an educational session here or there is understandable, but the society does a really nice job picking great speakers, and the sponsors have very nice receptions almost every evening. The receptions are a wonderful place to meet new people! It’s always tempting to blow the morning session and get some extra sleep but those who make the effort to make it several sessions always get the most out of it!
Remember why you’re there, but also think of the future:
Maybe you are here simply as a celebration of your accomplishment in completing your CPCU, but the CPCU Society can be a tremendous resource for you as you continue your insurance career. Be sure to attend the sessions and participate! Most people do CPCU thinking that finishing the designation is the end of the road, but really it’s just the beginning. Getting involved in the CPCU Society multiplies the value of the designation by expanding your network, giving you leadership opportunities, making you more visible in the industry and by helping you keep up to date. It all starts here at the Annual Meeting so get out there, meet some new friends and reach out with a handwritten thank you note afterwards! We know of at least one person who sent a handwritten thank you note to every person she met at the Annual Meeting and ended up turning one of those connections into an amazing new job. (That person will be in Indy, bonus points if you figure out who he/she is).
Connect with your local chapter:
The CPCU Society is like the Alumni Society from your University, except they’re not asking you for donations on a quarterly basis and they host local meetings all over the country! Representatives of your local chapter will be at this meeting, and this is a great time to meet them and learn about what your local chapter has to offer when you’re back home. Carly’s chapter has a monthly educational meeting, and Tony’s chapter hosts three to four big events each year. Being active on the local level will keep your knowledge fresh and keep you connected to other insurance lovers in the community and is highly recommended. It’s a great way to gain leadership experience and local connections. Both Tony and Carly sit on the boards of their local CPCU Societies.
Join the Twitter conversation #CPCU16:
Even in a conservative industry like insurance, social media has become a bigger and bigger deal over the last few years. The official conference tag #CPCU16 will become a big center of activity about the conference, don’t miss out on the fun! If you’ve never tweeted before, download the app today, sign up and get acquainted with it. Then when you get to the conference, stop by the Twitter desk, and get some help on how to use it.
Find your favorite nerds:
Both Tony and Carly help host the New Designee Open House. If you check out the schedule in the app or on the CPCU Society website, you can easily find out what hours we’re open. Come meet us and the rest of the group, rest for a little bit and get some food (we always have the best free food in the conference). If we’re not attending sessions or committee meetings, you’ll find us there! Or you can connect with us through the app or LinkedIn. We love to meet our readers! The easiest way to find out where we are at any given time during the conference is on twitter: @TonyCanas4 and @CarlyABurnham, we will do our best to post where we are.
Lyft is a great way to get around Oahu:
Taxis can be hard to find (and expensive) in the Big Island so the easiest and more affordable way to get around is using Lyft. If you’ve never used it before you can get your first $50 courtesy of InsNerds by downloading the app from https://www.lyft.com/invite/INSNERDS . Full disclosure: You get $50 and we get $20 to support running the site. Thanks!